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I'm slogging my way through the Cliff legislation, and here's one provision which could affect your 2012 taxes if you choose. For information about the rules for QCD's see IRS Publication 590.

This provision, which allows those facing RMD's to direct money to a charity without including it in income and expired after 2011, has been extended through 2013.

Since the legislation came after the tax year was over, there's a special rule for distributions taken in December 2012. You can make a cash contribution rather than the direct transfer from custodian to charity required for this treatment. If you want to take advantage of this for 2012 you have until the end of January to act.

I knew that provision was in there, but I wasn't sure how they were going to address RMDs that were already taken in 2012. What is the mechanism for availing oneself of the QCD? Can one just total all of the charitable contributions made on/after the date(s) of the RMDs up to January 31, 2013 and claim them as a QCD (not to exceed the total RMD)? Or is there something else?

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